President Vladimir Putin: Allow me to wish you a warm welcome. I am happy to see you again and I would like to thank you for not forgetting the tournament (the Commonwealth of Independent States and Baltic States Champions’ Tournament) that you attend regularly. It is a great honour for us that you, as President of FIFA, give this sports event such attention.
We follow closely FIFA’s work in general. The millions of football fans in Russia hope that our players will also put on their best performances at the competitions that you organise.
I would like to welcome you today on behalf of all football lovers in Russia.
Fifa President Joseph Blatter (back translation): Thank you very much.
We met for the first time six years ago and now I would like to greet you in your new quality as President of Russia. I would like to congratulate you first of all on the heights your career has reached, on the way you are running Russia and on the fact that under your leadership Russia has established for itself a high reputation in the world today.
Thank you very much for the attention you give to football as a sport. Your national football union now has a new president. I am absolutely certain, Mr President, that Vitaly [Mutko] can change Russian football for the better. Moreover, it is my firm belief that Russia should have made it to the world football championship.
Vladimir Putin: We also thought so.
Joseph Blatter: But football, of course, is an unpredictable game and there’s no planning the results.
Regarding the CIS tournament, Vitaly Mutko and I had a meeting today with the representatives of the football associations from the CIS countries and the three Baltic States.
Continuing development along this road requires the creation of a community of football organisations. We have just the same problem in Europe.
As President of FIFA I need to turn to you with a problem. The matter is that the European Union has too great an influence on organising football competitions on EU territory and, what’s more, is trying to expand its influence throughout all of Europe.
Vladimir Putin: Football imperialism.
Joseph Blatter: Yes, that is exactly the case. We cannot allow 25 countries to dictate their will to 207 countries. Our basic position must be that football has a universal, global significance. At the FIFA congress we adopted a resolution to deal with this issue and instructed the head of the Russian Football Union (Vitaly Mutko), who plays an important role in the relevant FIFA committee, to draw up the according proposals.